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Morning After (Part 5/End)

Posted on Wed Sep 5th, 2018 @ 7:56am by Lieutenant Commander Ronan Channe & Lieutenant Ba'zra Jennings

Mission: Episode 2: Columbus Ascending
Location: USS Valkyrie
Timeline: 18 December 2388 - 1000-ish

[Previously]
He smiled over the top of his coffee cup and then took another, longer sip. "As have I," he said quietly. "But I want to see this new ship and this new Captain. I do not transfer loyalty so easily nor will I be willing to give up the hunt. But we must go and see first, no?" He took another sip and then set his cup down because it was weak or maybe the pull was stronger. He crossed the room in a couple of strides and pulled her in close. "Unless ..." he purred as he nuzzled her neck.

[Now]

Giggling but enjoying the closeness, Ba'zra playfully said, "Stooooppp!" Coming to her senses, she gave him a mock scolding look and asked, "Where's that sense of duty? We need to get to our new post."

"You're right. Let's go."

[Short While Later]

To say the Valkyrie was massive was, at least to Ronan's mind, a vast understatement. Intended as a mobile command base, the Titan Class vessel had 144 decks and a total crew complement of 2,150 souls of which he and Ba'zra supposedly would now be of that number. The literature he had scanned combined with his own visual inspect as they approached, indicated that the ship was bristling with weaponry ... a stunning 64 torpedo launchers, a phaser cannon, and 27 phaser arrays. Ba'zra would have her work cut out for her. If she stayed. If he stayed. And that depended on what happened next. The hunt was not over; there was work to do.

The ship was tethered via umbilicals and as Ronan approached the access point, he was pleased to note that both he and Ba'zra were checked against the database and subjected to a DNA scan as well. Starfleet learned from their mistakes then and that bode well. Not that he was accepting this new ship. No, not yet.

Ba'zra gave a low appreciative whistle when she saw the ship. Her eyes remained fixated on the weaponry. Was she really going to be in control of all of that? She grinned. Yes, she was. She could hardly wait to get her hands on all of it. After all, they had something to do, if whoever the new captain was would allow it. A hunt, Ronan would call it. Ba'zra, however, would think of it as a matter of honor. "Not bad," she finally concluded, clutching Ronan. "I think we could do some damage with that."

Ronan grunted noncommittally and turned his attention to the security officer on duty. "Is the Captain aboard," he asked.

"No, Sir. Not as yet and no word when either."

"Very well," Ronan said. "Carry on." He turned toward Ba'zra and offered a slight smile. "How about we go exploring then. Check the ship out, find offices and quarters and all that?"

"Check out quarters?" she asked with a smile forming in the corners of her mouth. "I notice how you included that in your list of things to do - not that I'm objecting but...." She gave a short laugh and then gave a withering scowl at the security officer. Mentally she intended the look to say, You did not see me even hint at a smile.

Ronan suppressed a smile, marveling inwardly at the vast difference between the Ba'zra he had come to know and the version of herself that she preferred to show to the world. As they walked onto the ship, his expression turned serious. A behemoth on the outside, it seemed larger still on the inside. Such a large ship meant more delegation and less hands-on involvement; this would never make him happy. "So," he said as he turned toward the woman who had upended his life in less than twenty-four hours, "where shall we start?"

Duty face on, she gave the matter some thought. "Let's check out the bridge. I don't think I have ever been on a ship this large. I wonder what Starfleet was thinking creating a ship with this many people on it. One wrongly placed explosive and poof," she made a show of an explosion with her hands, "so many people lost all at once."

Ronan nodded as together, they headed toward the nearest turbolift. "Its too large," he grumbled as the doors to the turbolift slid open. "I'm more of the hands on type.' He waited till she stepped in and then followed her. "Bridge," he said and then turned back to her, with a sort of private smile on his face, the kind that spoke of remembered intimacy as he waggled his fingers. "You might have noticed."

In the turbolift, Ba'zra grinned and giggled, "Noticed and enjoyed. Feel free to do that more when we are not in public. I have no objections." The doors open, Ba'zra's grin faded into her standard scowl as she prowled about the bridge. "This is huge," she commented. "How many bridges of Columbus could fit in here?"

The Bridge was indeed massive with an upper tier on which was situated the Captain's Ready Room and, at least according to the computer, his own office. He made his way up there and entered a spacious room to find a PADD and a small box sitting on the desk. He read the orders first, read them again; he picked up the box and brought it around the edge of the desk to stand in front of her. "It seems I'm the XO and then, there's this ..." He opened the box to reveal his new pips. "Lt. Commander," he said softly and in his voice there was evidence of the surprise and disbelief he felt.

Ba'zra looked around to make sure that the massive bridge was empty, took Ronan into her embrace and kissed him hard. "Look at you! So proud!" She then broke away and flirtatiously told him, "Just remember, commanding me only holds true on duty, and barely at that."

"Barely," he growled as he returned the kiss and then stepped back. "Don't presume, Ba'zra, on what happens between us. When I am on duty, I am second in command of this ... this ..." his expression turned sour as he mind once again took in the enormity of the vessel, "...ship. I will expect the same of you as I expect of any other department head. Maybe more, because I am coming to know you, the real you." He took a moment to affix the pips to his uniform and felt somewhat guilty in doing so. The intruder had gotten away. Lives had been lost. The ship itself had been lost. What had he done that warranted this?

"Good," Ba'zra growled back. "Because if you ever gave me any special treatment for any reason, I would know that your honor was lacking and then I would have to disembowel you on the spot." She grinned. It was a playful grin but there was deadly seriousness behind it in her eyes. "And you had better believe that if I think that you're doing something stupid or you should know information, I won't hesitate like I did on Columbus. You're getting it. Understood?" Ba'zra reached up to Ronan's pips and adjusted them into their proper places.

His expression turned colder, wintry, for the barest of seconds as the wolf shown clearly, almost feral, in the depths of his blue eyes. "You will get no favors from me and I will give no quarter if you ever choose to come at me in that way." And just like that, the wolf retreated and the man reemerged. "As for what happened on the Columbus, that is true in reverse as well as you also saw." He waited while she adjusted the pips correctly and tried to accept the added weight.

The Mezni had a duality of nature that, on their own world, coexisted peacefully enough. They had not been warp-capable when the Orions had shown up nor had they ever seen an alien. His childhood had ended in the bowels of an Orion slaver, his head filled with visions of his people, dead and dying. He closed his eyes against the memory. They had come back and in this, both sides of his nature were in complete agreement. They would be brought to justice for their crimes.

He checked the roster of crew on board and saw that most were still in transit and that, remarkably, no Captain had been assigned. "Well," he said, looking up from the screen, "no Captain to report into ... which means, the crew will be coming to me until then. If you've no objections, I want to find quarters before I get to work. I'm..." he consulted the room assignments which, mercifully, someone had kept up to date, "on 21 ... there's a section marked off here for Captains ... multiple ... and I"m in it? That can't be right."

Ba'zra remained silent for a period of time. That definitely seemed wrong. What other surprises were there on this ship? "Whose names are listed as the Captains?"

He returned to the desk and consulted the computer once more. This time, the pause was longer until finally, he looked up, gesturing for her to join him on this side of the desk. "This ship is a mobile command base," he said quietly. "And as such, it hosts two smaller vessels ... and one of those, is mine ..."

Following Ronan's motion, Ba'zra came over to him and sat in his lap but leaning so both could see the screen. "Your own ship?" she asked amazed. "Well, that's unexpected. I'm glad that someone recognizes that you deserve it." She thought for a moment. "So, do you have your crew assigned or do you pick it?"

"So far," he mused as one hand stole around her middle, "I'm the only one listed on the manifest." He nuzzled the back of her neck, breathing in the clean scent of her, as he considered everything that had happened. It was all just so overwhelming. "Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about all of this."

"What do you mean?" Ba'zra asked with an a slightly irked tone. "Do you believe that you not deserve it? That you're not competent to run your own ship?" She whirled around on Ronan and asked, "You're not going cowardly on me, are you?"

He lifted her from his lap and stood also, anger fueling his actions, as he stood toe to toe with her. "Do not ... ever ... ever ... use that word about me again. I am no coward."

Ba'zra growled back, a grin widening on her face. "Then what do you fear?"

"Do you always go for the negative? I never said I feared anything. I said I wasn't sure how I felt. Seems like two heartbeats ago, four members of the crew were murdered. I led the investigation but the killer got away and we barely got the ship, or what remained of her, to safety. And now ... all of this? I don't want to be an administrator, Baz. I want to hunt down the g'lili and bring him ... her ... back in chains. Big heavy chains. This ship is too large. Its meant for someone who delegates and as I said before, I'm definitely more the hands on type."

"Negative?" Ba'zra asked confused. "Yes, four members of our crew were murdered. That was awful. But, as you said, neither of us were responsible. So, if that is true, then why the concern? We will get the killer." She gripped her hand into a fist and put it into the palm of her other hand. "Such cowardice shall be punished." She growled, bloodlust filling her voice. "Yes, we will find them, whether on this ship or another. We shall have our vengeance."

"Not vengeance," Ronan said as he took in the fierceness of her response. "Justice ... And its not that I feel responsible ... I just feel like I'm being rewarded for something I haven't done yet." He leaned against the edge of the desk pulling together his thoughts. "I don't want to be trapped in bureaucracy so either they find someone who speaks politics or everyone gets used to having their meetings with me on the move."

"You will do all of the things that you think you should do," Ba'zra assured Ronan, stroking his face with her hand. "They recognized your ability. Nothing more, nothing less."

"Then it's up to me, I guess, to prove them right," Ronan said thoughtfully. "But I really do hate the paperwork."

Ba'zra nodded. "It isn't the life of a warrior," she said sighing despondently. "Hopefully you won't get buried in it. There are better things to bury yourself in," she said with a grin.

He smiled at that, as she had intended, and vowed, internally, to make sure that he didn't suffer what he would consider a fate worse than death.

(End)

 

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